Major Israeli journalist (Haaretz)
also demands apology
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon Members of the Knesset (MKs) and other Israeli officials, journalists and Jewish leaders who gave their support to the 2005 Gaza/northern Samaria unilateral withdrawal to apologize to the Israeli electorate, which had voted overwhelmingly against that proposal in the January 2003 elections (when then-Labor leader, Amram Mitzna, lost decisively to Likud after campaigning strongly on a platform of unilateral withdrawal), as well as to the Jewish people and the uprooted Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria, whose lives have been turned upside down. Since the unilateral retreat from Gaza, the terror groups have enjoyed a massive boost in morale and Palestinian support, Gaza has been given over to terror groups who have smuggled in huge amounts of offensive weaponry and launched thousands of rockets upon Israel, while Al Qaeda affiliates have established themselves in the territory which Hamas seized by force from Mahmoud Abbas’ Fateh in 2007. Such an apology should include a public recognition that one-sided concessions and withdrawals to an unreconstructed Palestinian Authority (PA) can only lead to more violence, not peace.
In a meeting with American Jewish leaders at Blair House in Washington D. C., on April 13, 2005, before the implementation of the unilateral withdrawal, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told ZOA’s President,
The following is a sampling of comments by Israeli officials who supported unilateral withdrawal, saying it would boost Israeli security and reduce terrorism:
· Then-Defense Minister, current Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz: “I anticipate that the level of terrorism will drop after the disengagement and after pragmatic Arab forces take control.” (Israel National
· Current Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu: “Let there be no mistake. On the Referendum, I will support the [unilateral withdrawal] plan.” (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004). (Note: Netanyahu did ultimately oppose the
· Likud MK Yuval Steinitz: “I think the plan, with these restrictions, is trustworthy. It’s not an easy plan, but it has a good chance of improving our geo-strategic situation.” (Speech to the Knesset, October 2004).
· Then Likud MK, now Kadima MK Meir Shitreet: “Some argue that there will be a threat, threat of escaping, threat to the
· Labor MK Dani Yatom: “Before the withdrawal from
· Labor MK Orit Noked: “I want to believe that as a result of the eviction [of Jews] from
· Labor MK Ofer Pines: “I want to thanks [then-Prime Minister Ariel
· Meretz MK Ran Cohen: “The Disengagement [sic] is good for security. Right wing representatives spoke of Qassem rockets flying here or there. I’m telling you, if you want to spare both Sderot and Ashkelon, we have to understand that if we won’t get out of [the] Gaza Strip, in two-three years, or even a year, the range [of Palestinian rockets] will extend to
Other Likud MKs, including current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, current foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Silvan Shalom and Limor Livnat also voted in favor of the unilateral withdrawal policy.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “These statements which have been proved so disastrously mistaken, should not be forgotten as we contemplate the past three years of rapid security deterioration in the southern part of
“In these circumstances, it is high time for all MKs, journalists and others, regardless of party affiliation, who supported the process of unilateral withdrawal to apologize to the Israeli electorate. They should explain that they now understand the disastrous consequences of unilateral concessions to an unreconstructed Palestinian terror regime. They should acknowledge and apologize for the fact that implementing the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria deeply harmed the lives of the 10,000 Jewish men, women and children who were forcibly uprooted from their homes, synagogues, schools and businesses in Gaza for no gain at all and that, as a result, peace is further away than ever.
Doing so would help restore public trust in the Knesset and the political system and be the best demonstration of honesty and the willingness of political figures to stand accountable to the electorate for mistaken and failed policies which they advocated. We fully endorse the sentiments expressed today by the distinguished veteran journalist, Nadav Shragai in Haaretz, (the
Now, after the war and just before the election whirlwind sucks in our politicians once again, it would be appropriate for many of them to go out of their way and visit the mobile-home sites where those uprooted from Gush Katif live. This way they can tell them one small thing: I’m sorry.
Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert, Shaul Mofaz and
This includes the judges of the High Court of Justice who did not even bother to visit Gush Katif and made do with defense experts acting on behalf of the state ‘because that is the position of the court since it was founded.’ The justices who ruled as they did because they automatically assumed that such a plan ‘improves the security situation’ because ‘the evacuation reduces the desire of the Palestinians to harm the Israeli population.’ It would be appropriate for the honorable justices to take a vacation day as an act of forgiveness and go down south for a close-up look at the results of their decisions.
This also includes the media, which provided a challenge for Ariel Sharon and allowed him to turn a prosperous agricultural land, a world full of communities, synagogues, yeshivas and magnificent educational institutions into piles of rubble. Also the heads of the IDF and Shin Bet security service who never spoke in public what they whispered in the backrooms, and the soldiers and policemen who dragged the pioneers of Kfar Darom and Neveh Dekalim from their houses while raining blows on the demonstrators who understood what would come.
The apology must also include everyone who painted those who warned that the rockets from
You, too, who paid almost no attention to the hundreds of thousands who tried to stop the evil, who paid no attention to those who internalized the lessons of
Now rise and ask for forgiveness from those who paid the highest price, with their bodies, souls and property for your close-mindedness, arrogance and wickedness. Ask for forgiveness from the Gush Katif expellees, the noble souls who did not steal land from anyone, who made the empty dunes bloom as ambassadors of the State of Israel and who turned into the south’s security buffer and absorbed over 6,000 Qassams and mortar shells with their bodies and belongings in the last years of Gush Katif.
Ask for forgiveness from those who swore to “win with love” – who believed and sowed until the very last minute; from those who did not raise a hand against the soldiers. Apologize to those who continued to enlist in the IDF and pay the ultimate price even after they were expelled from their houses, because they understood that the state – the national homeland of the Jewish people, even within limited borders – is still bigger than any mistaken and confused government.
There is no way to know if they will forgive you, but you at least need to ask.